Google+

High-Roller Spirals Out of Control in Remake of Riveting Mob Saga

The Gambler

Film Review by Kam Williams

High-Roller Spirals Out of Control in Remake of Riveting Mob Saga

 

By day, Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is an English Literature professor whose questionable teaching method involves berating his blasé students by suggesting that none of them will ever amount to anything. He reserves all his praise for the only person in the class exhibiting any promise as a writer, the brilliant and beautiful, but modest, Amy Phillips (Brie Larson).

the-gambler-yify-subtitles-for-all-languagesAmy also works part-time at a gambling casino that her teacher just happens to frequent, since Jim is a high-roller sorely in need of Gambler’s Anonymous. After all, the odds are stacked way in favor of the house where, the longer you play, the more you lose.

But Professor Bennett must have flunked statistics, since he foolishly pushes his luck at Black Jack and Roulette and proceeds to fritter away more than he could ever afford. Consequently, he eventually finds himself in hock to the tune of a quarter-million dollars to Mr. Lee (Alvin Ing), the exploitative casino owner who’d gladly extended a long line of credit to the hopelessly compulsive gambler.

Given seven days to pay off the I.O.U. before having his proverbial kneecaps broken by Lee’s goons, the desperate debtor approaches everyone from his mom (Jessica Lange) to a ghetto loan shark (Michael Kenneth Williams) to a well-heeled mobster (John Goodman) for an emergency loan. Trouble is, rather than clearing his tab with the cash he collects, Jim’s so controlled by his habit that he heads right back to the casino tables.

Thus unfolds The Gambler, a riveting remake loosely based on the 1974 classic starring James Caan. Trim and impassioned, Mark Wahlberg handles The Gamblerthe title role in this witty, gritty overhaul of the original relying upon a well-crafted screenplay by Oscar-winner William Monahan (for The Departed).

The cautionary tale basically chronicles the gradual glide into depravity of an unrepentant loser in denial. During that frightening tailspin, Jim is enabled by several of his students, including flattered love interest Amy, basketball All-American Lamar (Anthony Kelley) and promising tennis prodigy Dexter (Emory Cohen). The only question is whether the pathetic prof will be able to pull out of the spiral before crashing and burning.

This searing character study unfolds against a variety of visually-captivating L.A. locales ranging from the seamy to the posh, and is underscored by an appropriately-gritty soundtrack. Director Rupert Wyatt’s (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) job was ostensibly made that much easier by the A-list supporting cast featuring Oscar-winners George Kennedy (for Cool Hand Luke) and Jessica Lange (for Tootsie and Blue Sky), as well as veteran thespians John Goodman, Leland Orser and Michael Kenneth Williams.

If only the self-destructive protagonist were a sympathetic soul instead of a real lout you’d rather root against than for.

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity, and pervasive profanity

Running time: 101 minutes

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

 

Entertainment

Top Ten DVD List for September 27, 2016

  This Week’s DVD Releases by Kam Williams Top Ten DVD List for September 27, 2016                         Hunt for the Wilderpeople https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01IGFGG2G/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20 Blood Diner https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01IN8E04M/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20 The Shallows https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01HH7KC60/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20 Rod Serling's … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Seton Hall … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Seton Hall … [Read More it Good for You...]

Outdoors

Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE XS Series Bow Sights

  Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE XS Series Bow Sights By Brad Fenson As an avid bowhunter, I’m always looking for a sight to not only help me acquire a target accurately and quickly but provide adjustability while being lightweight. It might be a lot to ask for but with a wide array of hunting situations, you have to be selective in your equipment to ensure you are always successful in the long run. The Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE™ XS was obviously designed for an active hunter. I … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

There Are Superheroes Among Us

  There Are Superheroes Among Us by Amy Lignor   This story truly proves that a superhero does not require a cape, tights, or the ability to fly. In a world where all headlines seem to be centered around who shot who, who is being put upon, who’s “getting away with it” – all the way to who is getting divorced and who may or may not be kneeling at NFL games – negative stories seem to be the only ones covered anymore by the media. Does the American populace … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

2016 Brings About Layoffs to a Variety of Industries

  2016 Brings About Layoffs to a Variety of Industries by Amy Lignor   From tobacco to alcohol, with brand names that have incurred huge amounts of cash during their long-term years in business, layoffs have still been announced at a rapid pace in 2016. Even from those companies that have increased their profits.   Altria is one with a very large brand name. Its cornerstone brand, Marlboro, has brought about retail sales that have grown higher for the fourth … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Spotting the Wild Animal in the U.S. of A.

  Spotting the Wild Animal in the U.S. of A. by Amy Lignor   There are many camping spots, zoos, parks, and outdoor paradises across the globe; locales where wild animals roam and humans can get close to these amazing creatures. One of the most beautiful and talked about lies near Canterbury, Kent in the United Kingdom. Opened as a private zoo in 1957, this odd collection is known by many for being one of the most unorthodox. Breeding rare and endangered species, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Google+